What is Indoor Air Quality you might ask? Well, in simplest terms, it is the AIR WE BREATH most of the day if you are like the typical American Family and spend 20++ of your 24 hours INSIDE (your house, your school,your work, etc.) The Government’s own Environmental Protection agency estimates that the air inside our homes can be up to 5 TIMES WORSE that the outside air we breath! If that is not reason enough to worry, couple it with the fact that A NEW HOME (like the thousands that we are surrounded by in suburbia Houston) is one of the MOST TOXIC sources of AIR- because
1) it is LADEN with NEW chemicals which can off gas for up to 10 years (formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, and phenols just to name a few) and
2) New houses are virtually AIR TIGHT, allowing for little to no “NEW” outside clean air to enter (thus you just recycle the bad chemical laden air over and over again, oh yeah and then BREATH (it).)
All of this has to make you stop and THINK… especially as moms with small children :what effects does this have on our health? Which is exactly the thought that crossed my mind when my daughter showed signs of illness and led us to realize that ALCOHOL (a volatile organic compound) was toxic to her system. But we have not stopped there…
We have completely revamped the “organic” chemicals we use in our house…don’t be confused by the word ORGANIC here…it is not a GOOD thing when coupled with the word CHEMICALS….it simply means the chemicals contain carbon, which is not necessarily a good or bad thing as most household chemicals contain carbon…what we must worry about are the SIDE EFFECTS of these Chemicals!
Baby(food)Steps TOP 5 for cleaning up your AIR QUALITY:
5. Remove Household cleaners. You will be surprised how much you DON’T need the scrubbing bubbles and bleach and how much you can DO with baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and some oils! For Household cleaning alternatives you can check out my last post.
4. STOP burning candles and using air fresheners. I will admit I was addicted to these as the next gal- a clean house is a pretty smelling house- right? WRONG. The chemicals found in “fragrances” are some of the most TOXIC not to mention the most UNREGULATED by the government.
3 Get a Carbon Monoxide Monitor for your home. In researching indoor air quality and fumes in new homes, I came across some interesting information about CO poisoning. Even LOW LEVELS (which most detectors cannot pick up), can cause health problems for sensitive individuals. Even if you cannot afford a low level detector, if your home has gas appliances or an attached garage, it is crucial that you have a monitor on each level of your home.
2. Ditch the “smelly” and “fumey” personal care products… I know many of you cannot live without your hairspray, cologne or perfume…but ask yourself…”When I read the label of what is in xyz, do I have any clue a)what it is b) what it does in my body?” If you can’t answer yes… you may want to reconsider. If you need some encouragement check out this databases (EWG (cosmetics) for some personal care hazards to your health and the air you breath.
1. AIR your House! This may sound funny, like “airing your (dirty) laundry” but it WORKS! It is estimated that a house should have its air “turned over” 3-4 times a day for optimal air quality… this is next to impossible in the Houston area where many months the temps rise above 80+, but on the days that it is not 80+, open your windows- for your HEALTH’s sake (and your kiddos!).
Per the EPA’s website: “EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.”
But this VIDEO has to be the most concerning… and upsetting.
You can make a difference in your home and your family, ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME!